United States of America

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Student life at Heriot-Watt

Following a tradition of strong historic links between the US and Scotland we are delighted to welcome applications from US students who are keen to experience life in Scotland’s capital city.

Heriot-Watt is a great place to live and learn, and is home to an active student union, first-class sports and recreation facilities, and while of course we have our own University Pipe Band, we also have an American football team.

We currently have many students from the US studying with us at our Edinburgh campus, and over 200 students from the US studying with us on transnational programmes.

Study Abroad at Heriot-Watt

Visiting students from the US can spend either an academic year or semester studying at Heriot-Watt. Students from any university can apply. Please see our pages for visiting students for further information.

Meet our graduates from United States of America

Our San Francisco Bay area Watt Club is led by Ron Leckie and Ian Myles and they are just in the process of starting activity. Going forward they plan to hold events in the area. There is a LinkedIn group, a Facebook group and a Shutterfly page.

Our US alumni include professionals in Coors Brewing Company, the Art Institute of Colorado, Dow Jones & Company, Chevron USA and Johnson & Johnson USA, amongst others.

Student profile – Davis Miller

Read the student profile of Davis Miller from Massachusetts, USA, who studied chemical engineering at our Edinburgh campus for a semester. Davis travelled from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as part of the Study Abroad programme.

Entry requirements

These entry requirements are intended as a guide only. Please contact us or the School's admissions tutor to find out the actual requirements for the programme you want to study.

Note for applicants for September 2021 entry

Due to the disruption to standardised testing in the US and around the world since 2020, Heriot-Watt University is committed to offering flexibility in our admissions policy wherever possible.


Year 1 entry

For entry into Year 1 of a degree programme, you must have both of the following:

1.  A completed high school diploma with a GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) 

2. Three SAT subject tests with scores of at least 600 or three AP tests with scores of grade 4 or above.

Please note that for SAT and AP tests, some degrees require specific subjects.

We also accept a combination of APs and SAT subject tests if no subjects are duplicated.

We will also consider honours classes in lieu of APs on a case-by-case basis.

College board number (SAT and AP): 0951
ACT number: 4605


Year 2 entry 

There are several ways in which to gain entry into Year 2 of a degree programme.

Option 1: You must provide all of 1, 2 and 3 below:

1. A completed high school diploma

2. One standardised test (general) with a combined SAT score of 1400, including no less than 600 in each section. The optional SAT essay is not required. 

If taken before March 2016, a score of 1800 is required, with no less than 600 in each section.

In exceptional circumstances, we will consider a minimum score of 30 in the ACT as an alternative to the SAT.

3.   Subject-specific standardised tests in different subject areas relevant to your chosen degree programme where possible. This can be:

  • three SAT subject tests with score of 600 or above
  • or three AP tests at a minimum of grade 4
  • or some combination of the above.

Option 2: Successful completion of the first year of a US university degree with a minimum GPA of 3.25 with a good match of courses.

Option 3: Associate degree with a minimum of 3.25 GPA and a good match of courses. 


For most of our masters-level programmes, we require a good first degree with a GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 (or equivalent) or above in a relevant subject.

For PhD study, a masters-level qualification from a good university is normally required. Applicants should also demonstrate some form of research experience.

English language requirements

Please refer to the table of school level English language grades for each country.

If you do not meet our English language requirements, you can apply to one of our academic English programmes, which are specifically designed to prepare you with the language and study skills needed for academic study.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees are listed alongside each programme in the online prospectuses.

Tuition fees are higher for international students. If you are unsure what your residency status is, you can complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess whether you have a relevant connection to the UK that might positively influence your fee status:

Learn more about applying for student support in Scotland.

Scholarships and bursaries

At Heriot-Watt we believe that a university education is an investment in your future. That is why we offer a generous package of scholarships to encourage and support well qualified, ambitious students to come and study with us. See the full list of scholarships that you may be eligible to apply for.

Federal loans

To cover the costs of your tuition fees, accommodation fees and other expenses, you can apply for a federal loan from Stafford and Plus. (Stafford and Plus Loans are the only federal funds that can be used to study at a foreign school.) More information about federal loans is available on the Student Aid website.

You can apply for a federal loan by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online on the Federal Student Aid website. Heriot-Watt is a FAFSA-approved institution; our school code is: G22739  

By completing the FAFSA you will create a student aid report (SAR). Once you have received your SAR, please email it to us with your details at usastudentaid@hw.ac.uk

VA funding

If you are eligible and considering using the Post 9/11 GI Bill or similar to fund your studies at Heriot-Watt, you should email studywithus@hw.ac.uk. This will allow us to process the paperwork required.

You should be able to use VA funding for any programme here at Heriot-Watt.

Our representatives in United States of America

We work with approved representatives in United States of America who can help you apply and enrol on your chosen programme. Find your nearest representative

Visa and immigration information

Please see our International Student Advisors Office (ISAO) website for information and guidance on:

Key information

Key fact

There are direct trans-Atlantic flights between Scotland and the US making it incredibly easy to travel between the two countries. The city of Edinburgh is twinned with San Diego